3 reasons John Collins is the perfect frontcourt partner for Karl-Anthony Towns
Heading to the offseason, Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins has emerged as one of the most sought-after talents in the market as of late. Looking back, the Minnesota Timberwolves already tried their luck in landing him during the trade deadline back in late March. However, the Hawks decided to ride out the entire 2020-21 season with Collins which eventually paid off for them as they earned an Eastern Conference Finals stint before getting eliminated by the Milwaukee Bucks.
Despite their recent success, things would be different for the Atlanta-based squad as Collins is expected to demand a max contract extension to remain with the team next season. Set to become a restricted free agent in the offseason, many teams including the Timberwolves are expected to aggressively pursue Collins in a bid to advance their rebuilding efforts moving forward.
If Minnesota successfully acquires his services, he would definitely be a much-needed addition to the team’s shallow frontline unit currently being led by Karl-Anthony Towns.
Here are three reasons why the 23-year-old is the perfect partner for Karl-Anthony Towns:
1. John Collins can step out and hit threes in pick and pop situations.
Much like Towns, Collins also possesses a sweet shooting touch for a big man. In the 2020-21 season, he shot 55.6% from the field, 39.9% from beyond the arc, and a career-high 83.3% from the free-throw line in 63 games played.
His ability to shoot from distance will greatly benefit the Timberwolves as they now have two big men who can space the floor and serve as threats away from the basket. With this, their playmakers in D’Angelo Russell and Ricky Rubio can now choose to use a ball screen with Collins popping out or Towns rolling to the basket or vice versa.
Indeed, the versatility of Collins would definitely be an advantage for the Timberwolves as they can finally explore multiple offensive schemes which would allow them to score in many different ways.
2. His athleticism would complement Towns’ low post game on offense.
Though Towns has the ability to shoot from long distance, he also spends most of his time in the paint much like any other traditional big man. In today’s brand of basketball, it is already necessary for teams to have athletic players who can utilize their physical abilities in order to gain an added advantage over their opponents.
Having an athletic forward like Collins would bring a different dimension to the team’s offense as they now have a cutter who can finish at the rim while Towns is busy attracting multiple defenders on the low block. For the Timberwolves, he would definitely serve as the guy that could step up and do damage for them, all while maximizing his athleticism to get easy looks at the basket.
3. John Collins is also an elite rebounder.
Speaking of athleticism, the Wake Forest talent is also a player who usually utilizes his explosiveness to get up and grab boards for his team. In the 2019-20 season, Collins showed his rebounding prowess as he averaged 10.1 boards per game. While his rebounding numbers slightly dipped in the 2020-21 season, it can’t be denied that his nose for the ball remains the same which ultimately helps him to get extra possessions for his team on the floor.
Certainly enough, Towns is still very much a huge rebounding presence as he averaged 10.6 rebounds in the past season. However, the Timberwolves can definitely welcome more rebounders on their roster, especially for a team that was merely ranked as the 19th best rebounding team in the league in 2020-21, per Stat Muse.
At the end of the day, Collins is certainly an upgrade over the team’s other power forwards in Juancho Hernangomez and Jarred Vanderbilt. His potential arrival would finally get Karl-Anthony Towns a much-needed frontline partner that can complement his game well and would help him dominate the paint even more.
Ultimately, a player like John Collins would never come for cheap but the Timberwolves should pull the trigger on him if he comes at the right price, considering the intangibles that he brings to the table and how those can help lift the team to greater heights moving forward.